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IMRAN Khan, new entrant Aamir Liaquat and other PTI leaders are all smiles at the press conference on Monday.—PPI
IMRAN Khan, new entrant Aamir Liaquat and other PTI leaders are all smiles at the press conference on Monday.—PPI

KARACHI: In a thinly veiled reference to the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has blamed what he called the “urban-rural political partnership” for the numerous problems of Karachi and asked the citizens to give his party a chance to serve the city in the next elections.

“Karachi has been going down the hill for the last 30 years instead of moving forward. The city of lights has been pushed by the rural and urban political partnership,” Mr Khan lamented while speaking at a press conference on Monday in which televangelist and TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain announced joining the PTI.

Mr Khan was of the view that restoration of peace by the paramilitary Rangers was not a durable solution and “a change is the need of the hour”.

Addressing the people of Karachi, he said: “Give us a chance and we will bring the change as we have fulfilled our commitment by bringing a change in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,”

During his two-day visit to Karachi, the PTI chief addressed rallies at camps set up in connection with the ongoing membership drive of his party, held meetings with his workers, business community, industrialists and transporters.

TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain joins Imran Khan-led party

Accompanied by Aamir Liaquat, Arif Alvi and other party leaders at the residence of Imran Ismail, Mr Khan welcomed the TV host. “Aamir Liaquat is from Karachi and an effective voice in media. We need his voice. Our competition is with a mafia and Aamir should join us and support us in this struggle to make Pakistan corruption-free.”

He said that others who had money gagged our voice by using billions of rupees advertisements.

He thanked the Supreme Court for taking notice of spending a huge sum from public exchequer to give advertisements by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

He said six months were left in elections and Aamir Liaquat would back the party against the status quo.

“In the past we all had said so many things, many people learn from their past while others change their ways. In the past if we are not offering prayers it did not mean in future too the prayers would not be offered,” he said in the context of Aamir Liaquat’s past views about the PTI. “I think there are many weaknesses and plus points in all human beings. Overcoming one’s mistakes and projecting good deeds is a good aspect.”

Mr Khan said that the city used to be the place where foreigners, including Arab sheikhs, used to come for vacations.

Without naming any individual or party, he said “corrupt politicians” had destroyed the city.

In reply to a question, Mr Khan said that the coming elections were a decisive war.

Criticising Shahbaz Sharif, he said “progress means setting up schools, hospitals, environment and future of children and not the buildings and roads which could be built by people if they are well off”.

Speaking on the occasion, Aamir Liaquat said that the MQM was his first political party and the PTI would be his last party. “I have joined Imran Khan because he is fighting corruption.”

“I have not joined Khan Sahib but Pakistan ... I have joined a person who is fighting against a mafia and corruption.”

Referring to the grouping within the MQM-Pakistan due to which the party held two events to commemorate its foundation day, he said that Karachi was changing very fast as those in the MQM had been restricted to two areas and soon they would be confined to their homes.

On the other hand, he said, gatherings at PTI camps had turned into public meetings and Mr Khan would clean sweep the coming election in Karachi.

Zardari, Sharif responsible for country’s ills

Speaking at meetings with industrialists of the FB Industrial Area, transporters and his party workers, Mr Khan lashed out at PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

He blamed both the politicians for the country’s problems.

Mr Khan asked the business community to come forward and contest elections because the country could not be put on the road to progress and prosperity until good people contested elections.

Referring to his government in KP, he said it was for the first time in history that the PTI government arrested its own minister on charges of corruption and put him behind bars.

He said reforming police was the most difficult task his party had accomplished. “KP police are now best because we never used institutions for victimisation. After coming to power we would reform FBR and other institutions.”

He said that the government had destroyed industries by burdening them with surcharges and taxes.

He said police in Sindh and Punjab were the “worst police force”.

Also, he told his party workers that he was going to lead Pakistan into a new corruption-free era after winning the elections.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2018